Hearthkit Oven insert

  1. Has anybody got a hearthkit oven insert? Does it really improve the texture and flavour of homemade bread?
    Sorry, if this has been discussed before. My forum search seems to be disabled.
    If there is a previous thread, could someone post the link? Thanks!
  2. this sounds interesting but ive never seen one...what is a hearthkit oven insert?
  3. Yes, it's because of berryblondeboys post that I've started this thread.
    It looks really interesting and I wondered if someone has got personal experience with it.

    Here's the link again: http://www.hearthkitchen.com/
  4. OMG i want it! thats so cool. i wonder how good it works. also is it removable? or a permanent insert
  5. Good questions. I hope someone can help us out here!
  6. It's removable. There are three sizes for different width stoves (do a search). There's been a few reviews of them and all favorable as it's great for making great pizza, chicken, breads, etc.

    I've only been hesitant to spend $200 on something, but I'll probably do it in the next month or so.

    I even made a loaf of bread yesterday!
  7. Thanks berryblondeboys, that sounds promising..
    I'd love to see pics how the baking of a loaf compares using a hearthkit or not.
  8. OK, did some more digging (I always research things to death before making the leap). and found a couple things. First this interesting review:


    that says this:

    There is a review on The Hearthkit Oven Insert in this month's Cooks Illustrated. I was glad to read it since I was contimplating purchasing this item not only for myself but for other foodie friends. Here's the scoop: they tested the insert on various breads, cookies etc in their commercial Wolf ovens and the testers were indifferent in the results. However, when the insert was used in a typical home oven the results were greatly improved over not using the insert. So for all those who have nice convection, DCS, Wolf, Viking, Gaggenau, Thermador etc. you probably will not see any difference in your product using the Hearthkit so save yourself some dough here. But, if you do not own one of these high-end ovens it would make a nice addition to your kitchen[​IMG]

    Also, Peter Reinhart the Artisan bread cookbook writer raves about them too:

    Peter Reinhart, noted chef and author, wrote to me about the HearthKit[​IMG] explaining it
    "goes a big step beyond a pizza stone, essentially turning a home oven into something akin to a brick oven ...I really am convinced it makes a huge difference in everything you use an oven for including meats, fish, chicken, and pastries-not just pizza and bread..."

    But I found this really, really interesting from here: http://www.bread-bakers.com/archives/digests/v102n031.txt
    Subject: Baking Stones
    Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002 08:08:17 -0400

    Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but rather than a new-fangled baking stone, I
    simply use quarry tiles, which any good tile store will carry. 6 of them
    are sufficient for a standard oven. I use cornmeal to prevent sticking.

    I'd let you know the price, but since I've had mine for 20 years, I can't

    Using these tiles, I get great crust on artisan breads thusly: Beneath the
    tiles, I include a dry baking pan containing gas-grill briquettes (don't
    crowd them) as I preheat the oven to 50 F above baking temp. When the
    oven's preheated, I pour one cup of boiling water into the pan, close the
    door, and drop the temp to the baking target. I don't touch it thereafter,
    no spritz, no sprays, like I mean, nada. This holds the oven to temp and
    contains the steam. I've read separately that oven temp drops 50 F every
    time you open the door. (Cover the oven-door glass with a dry towel to
    prevent spills from cracking it. Remove the towel before closing the door!)

    And this, from here, also really interesting. You really should follow this link to see the amazing photos and discussion following. Now, they wre specifically talking PIZZA over breadbaking, but it's the same concept and idea as the lady above... cheaper, but probably harder to take in and out, though smaller to store since it's small tiles, versus a big insert.
    I WILL say, be careful that you buy the right tile so that you aren't poisoning yourself!:


    I made my own "HearthKit" insert for my electric oven by putting two
    layers of quarry tiles on a rack, then leaning more quarry tiles
    against the upper rack to create walls. All of this thermal mass
    provided stored-up heat energy which radiated back to the pizza which
    cooked the top and edge of the crust.
  9. Oo, found more on the breadbakers digest:

    Subject: hearthkit
    Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 07:05:13 -0500

    After Reggie's enthusiastic post, I looked at the website and showed it to
    my husband. I got one for Christmas.

    It is the most wonderful piece of equipment that I've gotten in a long
    time. The French bread I make using it is as close to perfect as I've ever
    come. My crusts are great. Pizza is wonderful, too. I've also used it
    to roast meats and vegetables, and they've turned out great, too.

    I did have one problem that almost made me send it back, though. The
    Hearthkit comes in three or so sizes, but the difference is all in the
    width, not the depth. I have an Amana oven with a convection feature that
    causes the oven to be shallower than normal. When I first put it together
    in the oven, I almost cried! The thermometer touched the door, and the
    door barely closed.

    They were extremely nice at Hearthkit when I called customer service (the
    day after Christmas, of course). They said that they were very careful in
    the design and knew of very few ovens that were too shallow for the
    hearthkit. They also took the model number of my stove and the
    measurements. After some consultation, they called me back and suggested
    that I take it to a stone cutter and have some of it cut off. That was an
    excellent idea and probably would have worked beautifully, but I was afraid
    that it would get broken and I'd be out my (OK, my husband's) $200.

    The end result was that we played with the way the thermometer is held in
    place and came up with about 1/16th of an inch that enabled the door to
    close completely on my oven.

    I'm now wishing that I had two ovens, though. I don't keep the hearthkit
    in the oven all the time as they suggest. It simply isn't convenient for
    me. With another oven, I could keep it in one all the time.

    So, I spend one whole day making quantities of bread to give to friends and
    neighbors. And that night we have pizza for supper.


    Hi to the readers with comments/questions about the Hearthstone oven insert:

    I have a electric stove ( Sears 30 years old! ) and have had the
    Hearthstone oven insert for 2 months ( well, since Mother's day ). I make
    primarily pizza and artisan breads. It makes the best pizza crusts I have
    ever baked. I too am an experienced baker. My electric oven only heats up
    to 550 F and after 1/2 hr I decrease the heat to 450 since the hearthstone
    oven thermometer registers at least 500+ F. My pizza takes about 15 to 20
    minutes ( more time for thicker dough crust ).

    I have also made some basic white flour( French/Italian ) and white flour
    sourdough breads and the oven spring is phenomenal plus with bakery texture
    & appearance. The baking time also about 20 to 25 minutes per loaf.

    I have not tried cakes/quickbreads, cookies or pies or main dish foods
    since I primarily use the Hearthstone only for bread products. I bought it
    primarily for bread baking thinking most stone ovens are used for that kind
    of baking and not other kind of food baking or cooking.

    Hello all,

    Reggie has given me permission to post this incredible new product we got
    in last week, that I have been playing with daily!! It's called the
    HearthKit. It converts you own oven into a Hearth-style oven in seconds!!

    I have made over 6 pizzas, cheeseburgers, a wonderful chicken parmesan and
    some great breads in this so far. I made my breads w/o a pan and directly
    on the HearthKit and then today I made 3 loaves in breadpans on top of the
    HearthKit. They all came out incredibly!!! The pizza my boys are
    exclaiming is going to put the 'pizza man' out of business! LOL
  10. berryblondeboys you are a star!!!!!
  11. Ah, shucks, thanks...

    Now, I'm trying to decide if I want to get the tiles which is CHEAP or the insert.

    If I do the tiles, I would have to arrange them and such every time I want to take them out.

    However, the recommend just KEEPING them in the oven. Also, it HAS to be easier to store a handful of tiles than a bigger three piece unit.

    I liked the steam bath idea. Awhile ago (since I've been watching this thing for probably closer to 4 years) they said they were coming out with a steamer thing with it, and that never happened. I think they didn't get the business they wanted from it and people got smart and just started making their own versions of it cheaper... I mean, it's just CLAY.

    But like so often the question - is saving a few $$ worth the extra hassle of finding them, getting them, arranging them, etc. I don't know!